Street life 2017

An array of daytime recordings made along street markets and other gathering-places which are pedestrianised by official design or unofficial habit. Playback of each recording is synced to a simple animation plotting the route taken.

Broadway, Bexleyheath 6:25

Map image extract © OpenStreetMap contributors, reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Time, date and weather: 1 pm, Saturday 14th October 2017. Partly overcast, 20°C, wind 9 mph.

Description: Starting at the junction of Broadway and the western end of Arnsberg Way. Loud traffic on Arnsberg Way and Broadway, gradually receding; the voice of a street preacher heard faintly and briefly; voices and footsteps of passersby; rushing noise of aircon units; a stall advertising North Kent College plays 'Rhythm of the Night' from a small PA; buses drive slowly round Market Place; loud aircon noise from the Broadway Shopping Centre; sounds take on a reverberant tone as the Broadway narrows between the shopping centre and a block of shops immediately to the north; a Sainsbury's worker pushes a stack of shopping trolleys; traffic on Highland Road.

Comments: Bexleyheath's Broadway is quite wide and grows wider still at Market Place, where there's a large circle of benches as well as seating outside the Furze Wren pub. Plenty of people were sitting and hanging around and you'd guess they'd provide a good ready-made audience for buskers, charity collectors and so on. But there was only the North Kent College information stall with its PA. Tellingly, the street preacher heard faintly at the very start was just outside the pedestrianised area, so perhaps Bexley council enforces strict rules on who's allowed there.